Einwenden könnte man, durch die ‹alles zermalmende› Kritik (Mendelssohn 1785, «Vorbericht») werde die Metaphysik nicht grundlegend verändert, sondern recht eigentlich abgeschafft.

(Otfried Höffe, Kants Kritik der reinen Vernunft, p. 18)

I'm not sure I understand the beginning of this sentence, the "einwenden könnte man" part of it. Translated literally, it should mean, One could oppose, or, One could object, but it feels incomplete, as if a direct object, like es, is missing.

What, then, is the correct translation of these words, which rather seem to form an idiom?

  • Why would you expect "es" here? You can imagine a "dass" before "durch", whould make it easier to understand.
    – Eller
    Jul 18, 2017 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


Your translation is totally correct. You could rearrange this sentence to:

Man könnte einwenden, dass die Metaphysik durch die alles zermalmende Kritik nicht grundlegend verändert werde, sondern [recht] eigentlich abgeschafft werde.

So it should be easier to understand.

  • Now it makes a lot of sense indeed. But why is in the original the auxiliary verb of the passive verb werde, when the subject of this predicate, wird verändert, is die Metaphysik? (Should I ask this as a separate question?) Jul 18, 2017 at 14:53
  • "werde" instead of "wird" is correct here (Konjunktiv I)
    – npst
    Jul 18, 2017 at 15:18
  • 1
    @ΥΣΕΡ26328 The auxiliary "werde" is in the German subjunctive-1 mood (Konjunktiv I, 3. person singular). This is to mark the statement as an indirect quote of what someone else said or might say (that is, to clarify that the statement is not your own), eg.: Somebody might object x was y.
    – user28953
    Jul 18, 2017 at 17:31
  • @ΥΣΕΡ26328 Sorry, this was a mistake. I corrected the citation to "werde".
    – IQV
    Jul 19, 2017 at 6:55
  • @IQV Why did the author write it like that instead of the more "normal" way in which you re-wrote it? Is it a matter of style? Jul 19, 2017 at 8:21

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